What do young women below national screening age in England think about cervical cancer and cervical screening? A qualitative study

Samantha Groves, Joanna Brooks

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Abstract

Aims and objectives: To explore what women aged below the national screening age in the UK know and think about cervical cancer and cervical screening.

Background: The efficacy of cervical cancer screening is well established. However cervical screening attendance in the United Kingdom has decreased, with especially low rates at the first screening opportunity at age 25. Research has not yet explored knowledge and beliefs underpinning young women’s intention to screen before first screening invitation.

Design: Qualitative exploratory study.

Methods: Qualitative email interviews were undertaken with 16 participants, using questions derived from the Health Belief Model. Data were analysed using template analysis. The COREQ were followed.

Results: Analysis generated three themes; (1) Learning about cervical cancer and cervical screening: sources of information and (missed) opportunities; (2) Young women know screening is important – but they don’t always know why; (3) Screening intentions: a cost/benefit analysis of the available information.

Conclusions: Young women had varied knowledge and beliefs about cervical cancer and screening which were underpinned by several sources of information available to them. Most women expressed an intention to attend screening when invited, however some participants were unsure, with low screening-based knowledge and low perceived susceptibility of cervical cancer identified as key barriers. Social media, familial interactions, and interventions within education were highlighted as being suited to interventions aimed at increasing cervical cancer and screening based knowledge in young women.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2021

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